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msquilter59 Needs advice: I want to start an online fabric store

msquilter59 Needs advice: I want to start an online fabric store

Old 09-24-2010, 07:49 PM
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I've been thinking about starting an online only fabric shop. Any ideas on how to get started, finding financing if I have a poor credit history, finding Angel Investors or other Investors? I have no idea of how to do a business plan and estimate what sales and expenses would be since it would be a start up business. I've managed to find A LOT of scams while searching the internet. I don't fit into foundation guidelines and haven't found any grants I'd qualify for. I'd like to focus on reproduction and holiday fabrics and maybe others later on. HELP!!! Any advice or ideas? Anyone ever done this? I'm in MS so anyone who knows the laws,etc and could give any ideas or advice would be very much appreciated. Why is it that we never know anyone with means to help when something like this comes about? If we only knew someone who could do w/out x amount for 5-10 years! Etc, etc, etc!!! Thanks for reading and responding. Mary B MS
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:03 PM
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I hear that this is the time for women who are thinking of trying to start a business to give it a try. The first thing any lender is going to ask you for is a 5 year plan. You might want to start there.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:09 PM
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See if in your area there is a Small Buisness Administration, check w/county Planning commissions, or Local Buissness Groups, many can give local advise and leads on classes, that are in your area, in a building with a real person. non profits are out there to help w/this.
Good Luck!!
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:13 PM
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Good for you! Another idea for information ... in our area, one of the state community colleges works with small businesses. They help them develop their plans, financing, media, etc. You might take a look in your area. Be sure to get your financing in place before you step out. We'll be rooting for you!
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:13 PM
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some community colleges have some great extended learning classes that can help with business planning and how to write grant proposals. Women tend to have better luck with SBA I would start there first some local cities have SBA open houses.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:15 PM
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How about online research and utilizing your local library?
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:17 AM
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Do you have any sales experience? Do you know what mark-up is typical on fabrics, what credit terms you could get from suppliers, what the lead time for you ordering holiday fabrics would be, what your obligations would be on collecting sales tax, etc?

Most importantly, do you have a feel for commerce? Why don't you try to make some sales on the board here first, and see how it works out for you?

I dont want to rain on your parade but a huge number of start up businesses are not profitable for quite a while so I would be rushing in to borrowing money before I had a very good idea of how I was going to make it back.

If you feel you have flair in this area, set yourself a challenge to make a small profit on something you already have in your stash? This will test your communication and marketing skills, and let you see how hard it is to part people from their cash!

I hope you can build the business of your dreams, but you have a lot of work to do to prepare for success.
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:33 AM
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Something else to think about: what will set you apart? There are a lot of online fabric shops out there. What is it about yours that will lead people to patronize it instead of the shops they are used to? I also don't mean to discourage you, but I recommend you think long and hard about this, because a lot of people (IMO) don't really give this idea enough consideration, and they just expect customers to appear once they've set up their business.

I also recommend your local community college for classes. It's a legit way to get some good education for your money, rather than a scam on the net.

I know that people have poor credit histories for a large variety of reasons, especially these days, but I also recommend giving some strong consideration to how much debt you should take on to start a small business. There are (usually) good reasons why it is difficult to find financing if you have a poor credit history.

I know you mentioned wanting to know someone of means that could do without some money for 5-10 years, but the reality is that with many small businesses, the startup money is never recouped. That's something to give some serious consideration to.

If you don't mind my asking, given how much help you seem to be aware you need, what prompted your desire to do this?

I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:48 AM
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Wow, that sounds like a lot of work. Good luck and let us know how its going.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:58 AM
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No advice hre, but I wanted to say GOOD LUCK! I hope it works out for you!
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